Few things burden our collective consciousness as does the environmental crisis, at least the volume of discourse on the subject suggests that. Climate change scarcely seem fictitious now even to the most wishful of minds. The consumer economy has bitten hard on the environmental resources and the depletion of forests stands at an unprecedented rate.
The least we can do is sensitize the younger generation about the environmental crisis that stares us in the face and which they have inevitably inherited. What could be more sensitizing than tangible products, use of which can mitigate, with varying degrees, the depletion of the natural resources? We must switch to environmentally friendly school products to give the environmental studies and eco-friendly lifestyle speech a pitch of sincerity. Stationary which is environment friendly can be the first little step in practicing the gospel of saving the planet to the children.
In the last decade, environmental studies have been included in the curriculum of every educational board at the primary level and it continues well into the senior secondary level. Depletion of fossil fuel reserves, deforestation and effects thereof, global warming and threat of submergence of the littoral islands are the topics that are introduced in the primary and middle school level and this is done, it can be safely assumed, with the intention that by the time the child passes out of the school he/she would be well aware of the intricacies of the human impact on the environment and the urgency of intervention with lifestyle and policy level changes.
The theoretical rigors that tend to make environmental concerns of the century intimate to the student body seem inconsistent and far removed from the daily realities if, say, their school buses leave a trail of suffocating diesel fumes and copious amount of paper and wood pencil shavings are seen being swept off the classroom floor, daily. The use of eco-friendly material removes this confounding gap between the theory and practice to a considerable extent. The proactive co-curricular practices like planting trees or advocating reduction of the use of plastic in the community should be complemented by proudly announcing that the school exclusively uses eco-friendly products.
Making a start in doing our bit
Now, how can we make a difference in the scenario that is global in scope? It is by making a start in bringing a cultural shift making our habits and deeds eco-friendly. Adopting eco-friendly consumer goods is often cited as cumbersome and the relative ease and “unlimited” availability of the conventional (harmful) products is cited as the reason for avoidance and silencing of the conscience that rebels—in the people with awareness, at least—at the use of products harmful for the environment.
In that case, a fledgling inventory of eco-friendly products are available online at stores such as schoolsupermart.com Buying an eco-friendly pencil or writing books may seem inconsequential, yet, it is far from that. In the process of buying a pencil that has been fashioned from used newsprint rather than wood, a school or a parent encourages an industry that is innovating not at the expense of ecology. It is the step in the less trodden but the right direction. It is reasonable to appeal to the schools to take initiative in creating a culture of zero tolerance for products that are environmental liabilities.
Benefits of eco-friendly products
Eco-friendly school products do not have ingredients that are liable to create toxicity upon chronic exposure in children.
Usage of pollutant-free school products in learning space inspire children to lead the community in the direction of eco-friendly lifestyles.
The recyclable product impacts the ecological health of the learning space and supports the industries that are struggling to popularize their eco-friendly innovations.
Reusable products are economical in the long run and it standardizes waste management making the school a nucleus of mass awareness.
Bringing in the use of environment-friendly pencils and books made up of recycled newspaper can help children to relate their education with real life.
These products are safe to dispose owing to their biodegradability.
School leaders are expected to unite in every movement that supports sustainable development. They are identified as a part of academia and intelligentsia and it is only reasonable to expect them to lead the educational enterprise in the direction that is not creating liabilities besides the opportunities. Advocating Additive-free school products hardly needs a reason more than that it is not liable to generate toxicity in innocent children. How hard is it to grasp the immense relevance of introducing Eco-friendly paper books which are chlorine free and recyclable?
Next time when students are made to write an essay on environment or any aspect thereof, let the ideas flow from them effortlessly.
As a school developer, it is our solemn duty to bring to notice every constructive and positive step that is taken in the direction of building better futures.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.